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February 11, 2022

How does the Harden trade impact Sixers' title odds, Embiid's MVP chances?

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Sixers-Pistons-Joel-Embiid-5_012821_Kate_Frese40.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Sixers center Joel Embiid is introduced before a home game.

The Sixers season is saved! At least we think it is.

Gone is Ben Simmons and the lingering cloud of distraction and soon the team will be joined by James Harden, one of the best scorers in this history of the NBA. The betting world has certainly taken notice, as futures odds for the Sixers have significantly dipped, but there’s still some value out there all of us.

Hopefully you bet some form of Simmons to be traded at plus-money, and you moved to the Nets once the Blazers deals were done. We will look at how things shifted for the Sixers moving forward and give you a couple of plays for Friday's game against the Thunder.

NBA Finals Futures (FanDuel)

Nets (+420)
Warriors (+460)
Suns (+500)
Bucks (+600)
76ers (+650)

This is the first time these odds popped up on this column because without Simmons – or anyone else in his place – it didn’t make sense. Now with Harden here, the Sixers shot up to the fifth best odds in the NBA. They have a better chance than that to win the NBA Finals, which makes the +650 truly appealing. The addition of Harden returns an equally talented distributor as Simmons along with being one of the game’s greatest scorers. As you will see below, the Sixers have a favorable pathway to winning the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia should finish with the best regular season record in the East, as the Nets have sunk like a rock and the Bulls aren’t in it for the long haul. The Bucks are a legit threat but not until the playoffs. This all adds up to a huge home-court advantage for the Sixers with new life in their sails after this trade. This is still a great time to jump in and bet the Sixers to win it all.

Eastern Conference Futures (FanDuel)

Nets (+135)
Nets (+210)
Bucks (+300)
76ers (+240)
Heat (+550)
Bucks (+290)
76ers (+900)
Heat (+550)

The Sixers lost a lot of value after the Harden trade, as expected, but they still have formidable opponents around them in the Bucks and Nets. The fact that the books still love the Nets is a strong reason to still bet the Sixers. Philadelphia will have the edge by the playoffs, as Brooklyn won’t have a full team for the rest of the regular season. Between Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons alone, there will be volatility in their lineups, not to mention Kyrie Irving being banned from home games.

If you missed out on the big payday with the Sixers winning the East, then this would be the time to jump in and bet it. A word of caution though, this is still a tight race, and the Sixers don’t have much deep playoff experience. Don’t try to make up what you lost last week in value by doubling or tripling up a bet this week.

NBA Atlantic Division Futures (FanDuel)

Nets (-165)
76ers (-300)
76ers (+145)
Raptors (+700)

Nets (+800)

The only thing that makes sense here is to back up a brinks truck to compensate for laying 300 points on the Sixers. Philadelphia jumped up to a ridiculous -300 number that will not be caught. The Nets are cooked in this division after a long losing streak, plus the uncertainty of who will be out there moving forward. The Raptors jumped ahead of both the Nets and Celtics but are still 1000 points removed from Philly.

MORE: Details on James Harden's expected arrival (and Sixers debut), contract details, and more | NBA trade deadline grades roundup: Were Sixers winners or losers of James Harden trade?

Joel Embiid MVP Odds (FanDuel)

Joel Embiid (+230)
Joel Embiid (+220)
Nikola Jokic (+330)
Nikola Jokic (+340)
G. Antetokounmpo (+360)
G. Antetokounmpo (+360)
Steph Curry (+450)
Steph Curry (+550)

Most notably here is the 100-point dip on Steph Curry. It’s worth a mention that the arrival of James Harden did little to nothing to hurt Embiid’s odds of winning the MVP – in fact, he moved down ten points from last week. Anything above +200 is still worth betting as nobody gained any ground from last week. It’s important to see how odds shift each week to determine if there’s still value on the board.

The bet here isn’t just taking Embiid at +230, it’s that you can still get him at plus-money with the field dropping behind him. That’s a strong indicator this bet will hit and that you should continue to play it.

Sixers-Thunder Best Bets

Under 206 (-110 DraftKings)

The Sixers are not expected to have James Harden or Paul Milsap, but also won’t have the guys they traded to Brooklyn. This is just a tough game to get up for in general and the Sixers should be more focused on shutting down a weak Thunder team than lighting up the scoreboard. This is also the first leg of a back-to-back for the Sixers, as they will surely be looking ahead to the upstart Cavs game tomorrow. The Thunder aren’t going to set any scoring records anytime soon, so taking the under seems like the best play on the board.

Josh Giddey to Record a Triple-Double (+2200 Fanduel)

Giddey is all over the place and has his hands everywhere from rebounding to passing. His minutes have significantly increased with injuries all around him, and he has a strong rebounding advantage over most guards. The Thunder may be a miserable team, but they still have a decent shot at scoring 85+ points. Giddey should see work even in a blowout and, outside of foul trouble, nothing else should prevent him from being in a position to hit this prop.

MORE: The Sixers finally got James Harden. Now what? Answering big questions about the move | Sixers, NBA fans react to blockbuster James Harden trade, end of Ben Simmons era in Philly

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